Living up to their pre-season billing as one of the favorites in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors have simply been golden early in the 2013-14 season. Kicking off the season with a 94-125 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, they quickly bounced back from a loss against the Clippers and have won three straight, including the first two games in a four-game day road trip. Along the way, they snapped the Philadelphia 76ers' 3-0 start and dealt the Minnesota Timberwolves their second loss of the season, officially earning the title "NBA's hottest team".
Led by guard Stephen Curry, veteran swingman Andre Iguodala and guard Klay Thompson, the Warriors are one of the best scoring teams in the NBA. What has been left unnoticed, though, is that in all of their wins, they have kept their opponents to just 91 points while scoring 110 of their own -- defensive numbers that one can expect from, say, the Memphis Grizzlies, but not from the Warriors.
That defense will be tested against the San Antonio Spurs, which also have a 4-1 record. In contrast to the Warriors, the Spurs do not put up very gaudy scoring numbers; in fact, they scored more in their only loss (105 against the Portland Trail Blazers) than in any of their wins. But if there's one team that can gun with the Warriors, the Spurs are it. Not only do they have one of the best point guards in the planet in Tony Parker, they also have a battery of wing players and big men that can run the floor very well.
Against the Suns, that offensive balance was on full display. The Spurs went 29-21 in the first quarter, falling behind ever so slightly by halftime. Then they turned the offense just enough to net them the win in the fourth quarter. For San Antonio, that sort of consistency has been the key for their early-season success.